Psoriatic Arthritis

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What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a complex inflammatory condition, with many factors causing and influencing it. An inflammatory condition is characterised by the presence of inflammation, which is the body’s response to harm, such as an infection or injury.

Sometimes, however, the body’s immune system gets it wrong and starts attacking or causing an immune reaction towards its own body.

Psoriasis often manifests in scaly, itchy, red and sometimes painful rashes, most commonly over the elbows, knees, scalp and buttocks region. It can also cause the nails to have bumps and grow thick and flaky. It can also cause painful joints - psoriatic arthritis.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

With psoriasis, one can get joint inflammation and pain too, which is called psoriatic arthritis (arthritis meaning “inflammation of the joint”). The joint pain is often described as stiffness that gets better with movement. The stiffness is often worse in the early morning.

What causes Psoriatic Arthritis?

We know that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition that is not caused by active infection, which tells us that the immune system is overreacting or making the wrong response to healthy tissue. However, since psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have so many contributing factors to the disease, it is difficult to say what exactly causes this ‘wrong’ inflammation. Nevertheless, there are some factors that have been linked to psoriasis.

  • Psoriasis often runs in families and therefore one can assume some genetic factors are at play
  • Psoriatic arthritis occurs in the presence of psoriasis
  • It generally starts in people when they are between the ages 30 and 50
  • It is possible that a previous infection with certain bacteria can cause the immune system to start making this mistake and attack healthy tissue

Management of Psoriatic Arthritis

Medication can help slow down and halt the inflammation causing the joint pain and destruction. We will discuss some common treatment options for psoriatic arthritis but know that not everyone gets the same medications. Have a discussion with your doctor about how you want to be managed.

Your doctor may start you on prednisone, although this will worsen your psoriasis, it will quickly stop inflammation. Prednisone is not a good long-term medication, as it causes many side effects.

Therefore, your doctor may prescribe you methotrexate or some other drugs. These drugs can have side effects that your doctor will tell you about, and the best combination of medication will be chosen with your input and feedback.

Please be certain to tell your doctor if you are planning a pregnancy, because some medication can be harmful in pregnancy. There is also pain medication your doctor can prescribe.

What you can do to manage your Psoriasis

Stop Smoking

Smoking interferes with the medication you are most likely to receive. It also makes your immune system agitated, making the inflammation and pain worse.

Lose Weight

Obesity causes extra stress on joints and can further worsen destruction of the joint.


Exercise will help you lose weight as well as improve the circulation of blood and fluid in your joints. Exercise also helps make your bones strong.

  • Psoriasis
    Joint Pain